Doing It: Planning a Successful Community Crime Prevention Project
Are you tired of walking by playgrounds that are filled with trash
and broken equipment? You know kids won't play there because it's
such a mess. There is something you can do. You can make a difference
by cleaning up that playground as a community crime prevention project.
There are hundreds of problems teens can solve to make their school,
neighborhood, and community safer. Teens have talents and skills
that can be put to use -- if you're an artist you can paint a mural
to replace graffiti; if you like sports you can coach a team in
your neighborhood; if you are a listener or a problem solver you
can help settle arguments. You just need to fit your skill to a
problem you want to solve.
Either find a group or get one together. Join an existing group
like an after-school program at your school, Boys & girls clubs,
4-H, Scouts, YMCA or YWCA, or Camp Fire. If you need help finding
what's around, talk to someone in your school, place of worship,
police station, or recreation center. Whoever you work with, your
project will need a plan if it's to be a success. This brochure
will give you some ideas about setting up a helpful plan.
Steps for Success
- Decide what your project is going to be.
List the problems that you and your group believe you can change
in your neighborhood or school. For example, are there too many
fights in your school? Are kids doing drugs? Has there been an
increase in drunk driving incidents? Choose one problem. (At this
point you may want to look around your community and see what
people are already doing. Maybe you can work with another group.)
- Plan what you're going to do and each step you're going
to take to get there.
Decide who's going to do what, and set deadlines for completing
each step. Split up the work evenly. This way no one will get
burned out. Remember to plan for how you're going to be able to
tell if your project was successful. Are there fewer fights at
school? Has the school remained free of graffiti?
- Get what you need.
Basically, you need people to do the work, materials (remember
to include things like transportation, meeting space, food, photocopies),
money, publicity, and the support of adults. Look to local businesses,
foundations, parents, the school, community organizations, or
places of worship to provide help. Get moving on your project.
- Check your progress once your project is underway.
You want to be able to see if what you are doing is working.
Ask people what they think -- do they feel safer with less arguing
in school? Ask your friends how they think it's going. Or count
things. If your project is supposed to reduce fights in your school,
you can count how many fights there were in a typical week before
your project began and how may there are now.
- Get the message out.
And when you've got things moving -- share your success in your
school or local newspaper. Then celebrate and thank everyone involved.
In Jefferson City, Missouri, teenagers audition to be in the cast
of the Safety Kids program. They get to travel around to schools
making presentations about drugs to other young people.
Here are a few ideas of things you can do to improve your school
- Set up a group for teens to share problems and solutions.
- Join a group that builds and renovates houses for low-income
or homeless families.
- Do peer counseling.
- Start a teen court program in your school.
- Film anti-crime commercials and deliver them to your local television
- Clean-up and repair a playground or build a new one in an area
that lacks one.
- Be a tutor or mentor to a younger person.
- Develop a "street smarts" section for your school's
- Volunteer at a homeless shelter, preschool, or senior center.
- Put on drug- and alcohol-free events to celebrate holidays or
other special events.
- Teach younger kids anti-violence or anti-drug strategies.
- Put on art shows or performances with prevention themes.
Return to Crime Prevention Tips
Crime Prevention Tips Provided by:
National Crime Prevention Council